Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Eat a Helicopter - Descend into Darkness [EP]

I think it’s obvious enough that the thing that created that initial attraction to most of their listeners was their ridiculous name, Eat a Helicopter. That’s got to be one of the most random band names I’ve EVER heard along with Iwrestledabearonce, We Butter the Bread with Butter, Anal Cunt, Job for a Cowboy, Super Happy Story Time Land (a local band for me), and The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza. I’ve been listening to Eat a Helicopter since early 2010, a little while after they released their debut Pessimist EP. At the time, I actually really loved it, but now that I’ve heard better, I would actually give it a 9/20 rating, just below average. Usually, a band will release a debut EP so that they can have a CD to hand out at shows and to get people excited for a full-length. Two years later, they release…another EP? You wait two years to release a fucking EP?? I was expecting a full-blown album! This either means that the members of this band are very busy with lives/school/work (which would make sense because they’re very young), or they have a really hard time writing songs. I know it’s not because they’ve been touring constantly because they’ve never come through Seattle (where I go to concerts) as far as I’m aware. Well, the only way that they could make up for this disappointment is for this new EP to be pretty fucking amazing; I’d better be BLOWN AWAY.

I’m going to warn you, don’t expect anything you haven’t heard before; this is deathcore in its purest form. Being a fan of all the “generic” artists of almost every genre I listen to, this isn’t a problem for me at all. But if a band chooses to be generic/traditional, they had better be amazing. I’ve always wondered why so many people consider generic qualities and traits to be a negative thing. I mean, it can’t ALL be progressive, because then it won’t be progressive! People need to have a good amount of the bands that play their styles in a traditional and PURE form in their collection; even though I always prefer progressive music over generic, I can’t imagine being fully musically satisfied without those core and traditional bands being present.

Now it’s time to ask the question: well…how good is Eat a Helicopter at playing PURE and TRUE deathcore? My answer to that question would be that Eat a Helicopter’s 2011 EP is one of the best TRUE deathcore releases I’ve heard in years. Don’t get the idea that I think they’re AMAZINGG, because they’re not, but they go above (not above AND BEYOND) the requirements needed to make a solid deathcore record. I will admit that it’s harder to impress me without having any progressive elements; and even though I’m not amazed, I am impresses by what Eat a Helicopter has given me. I’m also very impressed by how much they’ve improved since the release of their Pessimist EP. But they haven’t improved enough. There are plenty of things that need to be worked on and fixed.

The sound/production quality of this album is perfect; nothing at all that I would change about that. The guitarists have nothing unique about them whatsoever; what they play is extremely generic and true to the deathcore genre. The bassist does play some fancy riffs in the last two songs on the record, but other than that, it’s all generic deathcore riffs that follow the kick drums and the guitar harmonization. The drummer is really good, but he screws up a lot in some of the songs. The reason why I’m saying that so harshly is because the ways that he screws up isn’t the kind of screw up that can go unnoticed; it’s a screw up that is VERY noticeable. One of his screw ups (which I will talk about later) is when he’s the only one playing! That’s got to be pretty embarrassing! The vocalist is okay, I’m not really fond of his vocals. His growls are a little high-pitched and have a lot of voice. I tend to like the REALLY deep and guttural growls that have a little bit of breath instead of voice. I’m going to admit that his screams kind of suck. His screaming isn’t HORRIBLE and they don’t pose as a major negative distraction, but they could definitely use a lot of work.

The drummer is one of those “hit big or miss big” kind of guys; he either is freaking awesome, or he completely butchers the part he’s playing. His kick drumming is pristine, but could still use to be a little more complex in some parts. He overuses the china cymbal in almost all of the songs; and even though the china sounds cool, it’s easy to make it an annoyance. The thing he needs to work on is his blast beat. His blast beat in general is great, but it’s going into it that he completely screws up. In the first track, there are two breakdowns where he throws in a blast beat in a very tight spot. The way he butchers it: it takes a second for him to get the blast beat going, so it sounds very sloppy. If he can get to the point where he can just explode RIGHT into the blast beat without having to start out slow, he’ll be just fine.

Overall, this is an EP that I would only recommend to fans of pure deathcore. Don’t expect anything progressive in any sense here. As far as generic deathcore goes, this is fantastic and it’s one of the best TRUE deathcore albums released in the past two years. I would give this 15/20 (which is basically 75%). I really hope to see a FULL LENGTH out of these guys next because I was annoyed by the fact of this release being their second EP in a row.